We are back for another alphabet treat! This time in the Board Game Terms series it's about C! #Cwhatididthere #seewhatididthere?
Campaign Driven Games
Story has always been involved in games to some degree, but often it has been the stories we create in our imaginations as we play. Some games have always bucked this trend, but with the advent of legacy games, story and campaigns are a big deal.
Campaigns aren't always heavy on story, for example dungeon crawls like Massive Darkness and Star Wars Imperial Assault have a campaign which is really a lot of different layouts and set-ups. But games like Near and Far, This War of Mine and many others are story heavy, so if you like more narrative or prefer to fill the gaps then you are well catered for.
Catch up Mechanic
Nobody likes to lose, let alone be smashed by one million points. Games that allow this to happen are either considered 'unbalanced' or to have a 'steep learning curve'. To combat this some games include a catch up mechanic that rewards the players who aren't doing so well, and attempts to keep them in contention. I have mixed feels about this. On the one hand when I'm winning by miles I don't want my stupid friends to have an easy route back in, on the other when I'm losing I want every helping hand I can get....
We all know that temptation. No one saw what face the die landed on, maybe you could knock it on to the other side and no one would know. STOP RIGHT THERE PERSON. You do not want to do that. You would know and your opinion of yourself would be tarnished forever. Trust me. I know. Not from personal experience of course, I'm just very knowledgable and know a lot of cheats. Not me though. Never me.
Children and Family games have come a long way, and while my eight-year-old still wants to play Og on the Bog, and Gooey Louie, games like My Little Scythe and Ticket to Ride: New York are re-balancing the equation. (plus Og on the Bog makes fart sounds!)
For most gamers a family or children's game needs to teach some of the core mechanics of a more complex game in a simpler way. Haba Games do a great line in these games, but lots of other companies are doing a great job too.
Are you addicted to board games or buying board games? The eternal philosophical question! Or not. For myself I have to admit that there is a certain cathartic experience in receiving a parcel, taking of the shrink wrap, punching out the cardboard and bagging everything up in the optimal fashion. There is no doubt that most of us have had to join Kickstarter Anonymous after first discovering that beautiful crowd funding monster, but also that we come out the other side a little wiser, with a shorter 'pile of shame' and a harsher criteria for moving un-played games out of our collection... until something like Monolith's Batman ruins your marriage... um... I mean moral reserve.
Board Gamers tend to be on a scale of collection, some won't throw away anything including foreign language rule books and exhausted punch boards... others try to squash every expansion going into a core box ill designed for stretching. What ever our level of addiction, it's clear we are all collectors on some level.
Shiny shiny! Components in board games are a necessity - obvs, but there is a wide difference between them in different games - from GMT's cardboard punch out 'do the job' tokens, to Cmon's extravagant baby dwarfing 'miniature' and everything in between. I'd like to think that most gamers are reasonable sorts and would settle for 'decent' if not 'good enough', but there is no denying that components have become more important than ever.
Kickstarter proves that the appetite for 'unnecessary' miniatures is still strong, plus metal coins now seem like an obvious stretch goal or add on. Upgrading or 'blinging' games is also becoming a big business. From game inserts to upgraded resources, there is a myriad of options.
For example, Rising Sun actually came with plastic coins in the standard pledge and then offered metal coins as an add on. When I got my copy, rather than pay 20 odd quid for the official coins, I ebayed so old Yen for £3! I spent a bit more getting realistic looking ore for Castles of Burgundy and wood and meat for Champions of Midgard but they are two of my favourites...
The advent of affordable home 3D printing has made upgrading even easier than before. I have a number of 3D printed upgrades, from inserts to tokens, and armour for my Gaslands garage. The world is quite literal your 3D printed oyster, that needs painting up to look proper boss.
Have a lucky git who always wins in your group? Try some co-op gaming! Of course, this might mean you fall pray to an alpha gamer, but those are the the risks eh? It's hard to talk about co-op games without mentioning the mighty Pandemic. And even though it's not my cup of tea even I have to admit that the Legacy version was compelling and innovative.
What ever tickles your fancy there is usually a co-op to suit your needs. Thanos Rising may not be the most unique game ever but as a co-op adventure it's great fun. Super Heroes not your bag? Try Zombicide or Massive Darkness. Games like Descent and Star Wars Imperial Assault even have dedicated apps to turn them from One vs Many into pure co-op games.
But it's not just big boys, Burgle Bros offers co-op bank robbery shenanigans, The Mind burst onto the scene with its mind reading strangeness. In short you want to work together you surely can!